Medellín, Colombia, is lauded as one of the world’s most innovative and tourist-friendly cities. But 30 years ago, the city was a cocaine capital—ravaged by the cartel war led by Pablo Escobar. It was also one of the world’s most dangerous city, with car bombs going off everywhere and streets being taken over by fear and violence.
Still, even in its darkest hour, Medellín began to figure out a way out of that humanitarian crisis.
Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa reported in Medellín at the height of the cartel war. After 30 years, she returns to the city, joined by radio reporter Luis Gallo, whose father worked as a captain in the anti-narcotics unit and whose life and family history were forever changed by Colombia’s armed conflict.
Together, they tour Medellín, talking to local artists, academics, urban planners and politicians to understand how it went from chaos to the innovative, model city of today.
This story originally aired in June of 2018.